The Hub Peter Scott, international expert in digital-first learning, named AU’s next president

Peter Scott, international expert in digital-first learning, named AU’s next president

Prof. Peter Scott will join Athabasca University in January 2022

Prof. Peter Scott, a respected academic, researcher, and senior executive who has spent close to 30 years working in open and online learning, will be Athabasca University’s 10th president. He will take over from interim president Deborah Meyers on Jan. 4, 2022.

Scott is currently Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Technology Sydney, in Australia, where he is responsible for strategic leadership on new modes of learning and teaching, particularly digital learning. In his recent work, Scott has led the university’s Lifetime of Learning initiative, which aims to expand the reach of learning via online delivery, micro-credentials, enterprise learning, and more.

Scott said his research focus on educational technology, specifically digital technology, was, in part, why he wanted to join AU.

“As the first person in my family to pursue higher education, I’m personally passionate about the transformative power of access to university. I have spent my career focused on opening access to all through online learning and research,” he says.

“I’m personally passionate about the transformative power of access to university. I have spent my career focused on opening access to all through online learning and research,”

– Peter Scott, AU president-designate

From the University of Sheffield to Open University

Scott received his PhD in psychology from the University of Sheffield in the U.K. in 1987 and spent nine years there as an academic and researcher in the field of cognitive science and psychology.

He then spent close to 20 years in senior positions at the Open University in the U.K., driving innovation in open and online learning. In his last role there, he was director of the Knowledge Media Institute, a multidisciplinary research and development lab that has been at the forefront of innovation for 25 years in areas such as semantic technologies, new forms of educational media, social media analysis, big data, blockchain, smart cities, and the Internet of Things.

In his career, Scott has led research that attracted more than $80 million in international grants. As a scholar, he was the founding president of the European Association of Technology Enhanced Learning, and he is a sought-after leader and speaker in his field.

Pandemic heightens need for high-quality online learning

The world-wide pandemic that began in early 2020 has highlighted the need for universities to provide a high-quality online experience, and learners have come to expect that, adds Scott.

“AU’s Imagine plan has created a fantastic new platform for change, so I will be joining a team that is already well on its way along this journey.”

“AU’s Imagine plan has created a fantastic new platform for change, so I will be joining a team that is already well on its way along this journey.”

In his spare time, Scott enjoys fishing and skiing. He hopes his new proximity to the Alberta Rockies will encourage him to master snowboarding as well.

“I also love to explore with my paddleboard and kayak,” he says. “Not so much for the exercise but to search out an even nicer fishing or picnic spot.”

Board chair, minister welcome Peter Scott

Published:
  • October 7, 2021